Alethkar

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Alethkar
Locator Alethkar.png
Ethnicity Alethi
Capital Kholinar
Ruled by Queen Jasnah Kholin
Occupied by Singers
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.
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We've got a noble heritage, Kal, darkeyes and lighteyes alike. That’s why the best warriors have always been from Alethkar.

Alethkar is a country in eastern Roshar. It borders Jah Keved to the west, the Unclaimed Hills to the east, and the Frostlands to the south. Alethkar is the largest country on Roshar, and is the largest and most prominent of the five Vorin nations, with a population in the hundreds of thousands.[2] People from Alethkar are known as Alethi, and their royal colors are blue and gold.[3] In Azir, they are known as the Tagarut.[4]

The singers' name for Alethkar is Avendla, meaning Land of the Second Advance.[5] Prior to the True Desolation, the Alethi were engaged in the War of Reckoning against the listeners.[6] At the present, the vast majority of their territory is under the control of the Voidbringers.[7]

Etymology[edit]

The name Alethkar is of unsure meaning, but it stems from the name of the Silver Kingdom of Alethela, which later became what is now known as Alethkar.[8][9]

Geography[edit]

Map of Alethkar. Alethi territories (barring the Shattered Plains) are marked in purple.

Borders and Territories[edit]

Alethkar lies in eastern Roshar, stretching across the entire continent, from the Steamwater Ocean in the North to the Tarat Sea in the South-West. To the East, it leans on the Unclaimed Hills, while to the South, it reaches the nationless Frostlands and the Shattered Plains, the latter of which it has recently claimed for itself. In the West, Alethkar has a long and long-disputed border with Jah Keved, which currently follows two rivers and the bend of the Sunmaker Mountains. In North-West, Alethkar borders Herdaz across a stretch of land decided through many years of border conflicts.[10][11]

It has an area around 7,134,000 km2.[12]

Besides the mainland, the Alethi have a number of territories off the coast. On the Steamwater Ocean, Alethkar has Akak and a number of surrounding islands, giving it complete control over the Bay of Elibath. On the Tarat Sea - more specifically, a region of it called Mevan Bay - it controls a number of small islands in the delta of Deathbend River, near the city of Karanak.[13]

Interior[edit]

At the tail end of the Era of Solitude, Alethkar is the largest state on Roshar, covering around seven million square kilometers of land.[12] Despite the fact that it is far more exposed to the highstorms than any country further West, large swathes of it are lush with animals and vegetation.[14] It has numerous rivers crossing it, the two major ones being Windrunner and Deathbend. The Windrunner River runs East to West, from Unclaimed Hills to the Bay of Elibath, and has numerous tributaries across the northern half of the country. The Deathbend River likewise starts in the Unclaimed Hills, though it turns South, ultimately ending in the Mevan Bay, with one of its major tributaries being an enormous lake called the Sea of Spears. The North and South of Alethkar are divided by a long, cross-shaped masiff called the Sunmaker Mountains.[13]

Climate[edit]

Due to how far east it is, Alethkar is buffeted by particularly heavy highstorms. This forces settlements to primarily be built on the leeward sides of laits.[1][citation needed] These leeward sides are also far more lush with plant life, due to the protection the liats provide from powerful highstorm winds.[15]

Notable cities[edit]

History[edit]

Pre-Human Arrival[edit]

Before humanity arrived on Roshar from Ashyn, the land that would come to be known as Alethkar was inhabited by Singers.[16] After an uncertain period of time after human arrival and settlement in present-day Shinovar, they headed an invasion, slaughtering them and expelling them from their land; claiming it as their own.[16] This history was lost to time until the discovery of the Eila Stele.[16]

The Silver Kingdoms[edit]

Map of the Silver Kingdoms

Alethkar was founded as Alethela in the Silver Kingdoms Epoch, settled by Ashynite emigrants who arrived on Roshar in Shinovar, before eventually expanding outward and settling all across Roshar. They were an extremely militaristic nation which remembered and studied the arts of war so that they would be able to teach it to new generations whenever a Desolation comes.[8] Due to this, the Knight's Radiant primarily lived in Alethela, even if their operations were based in Urithiru.[8] This militarism laid the foundation for modern Alethi militarism and military strength.

Its territory during this era was larger than its current territory, including the Unclaimed Hills in the Rosharan far east.[9][10]

Due to the Desolations, they were constantly returned back to primitive technological levels, often to the point to making use of stone tools. Though they advanced each time with the help of the Heralds whenever they returned, often helping them to enter into the bronze age, often receiving this assistance from Kalak and his Willshapers.[17][18][19]

Very early in the nation's history, the Dawncity of Kholinar was created and made into its capital.[20] It eventually was made into the home of the Alethelan Oathgate.[21] Despite its age, it still stands as of 1175, making it one of the oldest cities on Roshar.

It was the place that many people wanted Urithiru to be built, likely due to Alethkar being the home to the Knight's Radiant. Despite this, for a reason obvious to many others at the time, it could not be, instead being built in the mountains near Makabakam.[22]

The Rule of Nohadon[edit]

At some point early in its history, it was ruled over by King Nohadon.[20][23] During one Desolation during his life, they fought for over eleven years and nine-in-ten Alethelan citizens were killed.[20] Eiliz, Tarma, and Sur, likely sub-divisions of Alethela, fell during this Desolation. They are no longer remembered in modern historical memory by 1173.[20]

Nohadon wanted to abdicate due to the tragic events of this Desolation, however, he kept his throne and tried to rebuild. Over the decades, he successfully managed to rebuild Alethela into a bustling and colorful place.[24] Eventually, he went to war with Makabakam over trade routes, the full effects this had on both kingdoms are unknown.[24]

Nohadon was a very influential figure on the ideals that form the backbone of the Knights Radiant.[25]

One of the many Desolations that struck the nation, along with the rest of Roshar, arrived in the year 337 of the Eighth Epoch. This Desolation was heralded by the release of Midnight Essence in a small settlement in Natanatan.[8] The length of this Desolation is unknown.

The Last Desolation[edit]

The Last Desolation was a large scale Desolation which occured around 4500 years before the arrival of the True Desolation. This Desolation was particularly devasting due to the fact that it happened only a year after the previous Desolation, and thus society was weakened and still recovering. Tired of the Desolations and their torture on Braize, the nine Heralds still on Roshar refused to return to Braize, leaving Taln as the sole Herald on the planet for millennia.[26][27]

After the Last Desolation, Desolations ceased to ravage the nation. Due to this, society was able to advance much further than ever before, giving them the strength to potentially resist any potential Desolation without complete societal collapse.[28] The era heralded by the Last Desolation came to be known as the Era of Solitude.[29]

After the Aharietiam[edit]

At some point before the Hierocracy, and likely before the Recreance,[30] the ancestors of the Oldbloods acted as the monarchs of what would become Alethkar. Little is known about them, but they are known to have been a dynasty, implying that they had ruled for a long time. It is not known how, when, or why, but they eventually lost their authority, but it would be remembered by their descendants for many generations.[31][32][30]

At some point following Aharietiam, the kingdom splintered apart into many different smaller nations, and would not reunify for centuries following the splintering.[citation needed]

The Hierocracy and Sadees the Sunmaker (??? - c.673)[edit]

The Hierocracy[edit]

Alethela survived the Desolations, but fell under the sway of the Hierocracy some point after the Recreance. This was occurred as religion permeated every aspect of life and Ardents were allowed to own poperty and political office, and were seen as the only figures capable of interpreting scripture. This allowed them to, at some point, overthrow the power of the government and make themselves into a powerful theocracy, claiming the divine right to rule over mankind.[33] They further controlled the populace through their access to information, both religious and secular.[34]

While ruling, they sought to expunge historical information regarding Shadesmar, the Knights Radiant and the Recreance, from the records as best as they could. They did not just expunge information, but also tampered with text to create their own revisionist history of Roshar.[34][35][29] This left knowledge about the past clouded by propaganda and censorship.

They did not just control Alethelan territories, but expanded to become a wider Vorin coalition, including the likes of what would come to be known as Jah Keved, Kharbranth, and Thaylenah.[25][36] But as it grew larger, it become more and more difficult to keep it itself stable and consolidated, thus their power began to become unstable, laying the foundations for the War of Loss.[37]

The War of Loss (c.673)[edit]

This lasted until the Sunmaker led the kingdom in a successful revolt against Vorin rule circa 673, known as the War of Loss. Following his successful reunification of Alethela under the name of Alethkar, he set his eyes upon the rest of Roshar.[38]

Many cities were sacked and destroyed in this war and the chaos of its aftermath, with Kholinar being one of the few eastern cities to survive.[39]

After overthrowing the Hierocracy, Vorinism was split into many Devotaries, leaving it heavily decentralized. Furthermore, ardents had their rights to own property and political office stripped away, they were no longer allowed to amass wealth, and they were reduced into being little more than slaves. However, they were stilled allowed to excommunicate people without political consultation.[40] Furthermore, they had their claims of seeing visions of the future thoroughly debunked, questioning their authority as unquestionable religious figures even further.[41]

This was all done by Sadees in the attempt to prevent another Hierocracy from rising in the future.[25][42][41] The Hierocracy and its fall served to shape modern Vorinism.

Despite its collapse many centuries ago, various groups during the War of Reckoning and the True Desolation, such as the Sons of Honor, still seek for the return of the Hierocracy.[43][44]

The Rule of the Sunmaker[edit]

His first conquest was over the northern nation of Herdaz, which was successful.[37] At some point following the occupation of Herdaz, he marched upon Azir,[45] then under the rule of Prime Aqasix Snoxil.[46] He successfully conquered the capital city of Azimir, claiming to have come to "civilize" them. With a powerful army stationed in the nation, he instituted a policy of genocide against their people, it is said one of every ten Azish people died under the tyranny of Sadees.[45]

After the Sunmaker's death, his ten sons could not agree on one of their number as his successor. With none of them willing to forego their claim to the throne, they split the kingdom into ten princedoms, which they ruled individually as Highprinces, with no unifying government. This loss of central government in the empire led to the Azish regaining their independence.[37]

The legacy of this era would live on, with the Alethi seeing him as a great conquerer and a hero to his people, while many other people across the world saw him as a genocidal tyrant, causing other leaders to be hesitant to trust Dalinar and the Alethi.[45] However, Alethkar's conquests forged trade routes to other regions including Azir, Herdaz, and Jah Keved; these routes persisted into the modern era, bringing great wealth to the nation.[40]

Alethi War of Unification (1140-1163)[edit]

Several centuries later, in approximately 1140, Gavilar Kholin--inspired by the Sunmaker--sought to conquer and unite the highprinces, which he achieved by about 1145. He was then crowned king and his brother Dalinar Kholin became highprince to the Kholin Princedom. However, due to the lineage of each Princedom going back to the Sunmaker and his sons, the Highprinces were loathe to surrender their autonomous power to a supreme ruler. The integrity and unity of Gavilar's kingdom is therefore questionable, as evidenced by the ferocity with which the Highprinces resisted his military approach to unification and continued to strain against his rule. The most severe instance of this was the rebellion in Rathalas, where Gavilar eventually had to send troops led by Dalinar and Torol Sadeas in order to quench the revolt, as political means had resulted in a failure.

Brightlord Yezriar (1140)[edit]

One notable battle during the war was the battle against Brightlord Yezriar.[47]

Conquest of Rathalas (1141)[edit]

They led a conquest against Rathalas in 1141, the seat of Brightlord Tanalan. During this fight, Dalinar slew Tanalan, but his body was taken away before his shard manifested. Thus he tracked it down and found his family, where he observed as the Brightlord's son took up the Shardblade Oathbringer in an attempt to protect the rest of his family. Ultimately, he couldn't bring himself to kill them, so he simply took the blade and left.[48]

The conquest was ultimately successful, placing Rathalas under Kholin hegemony, although the rule was not peaceful. The ruling family was enraged by the conquest and the death of Tanalan, and was even further enraged by the loss of Oathbringer, which they demanded be returned to the rightful heir.[49]

This battle was notable for laying the foundations of the Burning of Rathalas, and with the Kholin family obtaining the Shardblade Oathbringer.[49]

Conquest of Kalanor's Territory (1145)[edit]

Gavilar and Kalanor were major enemies during the Unification War, with Kalanor acting as one of the major stonewalls in Gavilar's quest towards the complete unification of Alethkar. They have both been politically maneuvering around one another for two years before the start of the conquest.[50] Gavilar believed that he needed to fall at all costs.[50]

In 1145, the Kholin army attacked myriad small cities in Kalanor's region in an attempt to undermine his authority and pull him out of hiding, provoking him into a large scale battle in which they could secure a decisive victory.[50] This strategy was successful, leading to the two armies into a large-scale battle on a large, open plain. This was the largest battle the Kholin army engaged in during the Unification War, and ended in a decisive Kholin victory and the death of Kalanor.[50]

Kalanor's shards were given to Gavilar by Dalinar, and Kalanor's territory was given to Loradar Vamah, thus it was officially named the Vamah princedom. This battle marked the official end of the Alethi war of unification, however battles and skirmishes could continue for decades afterward.[50]

Alethi-Herdazian Border Conflict (1150 - 1154)[edit]

A violent war between Alethkar and Herdaz occurred starting in 1150 and lasting up until 1154. It was intended primarily as a show of Alethi strength, and as a way to ensure security at the border and expand Alethi territory.[51] Dalinar Kholin was a major general in the conflict.[51][52]

This conflict led to the deaths of many on both sides, and defined the modern Alethi-Herdazian Border.[52]

Conquest of Akak (1155)[edit]

At some point in 1155, Dalinar Kholin led a military conquest of the Reshi island of Akak.[11] The conquest was ultimately successful as he destroyed the Akak Reshi, and claimed the island for Alethkar.[53]

Alethi-Veden Border Conflict (1155 - ???)[edit]

Around 1155, a war broke out at the border between Alethkar and Jah Keved. Dalinar also acted as one of the major generals in this conflict as well.[11] Part of the motivation for the conflict was Jah Keved taking land from Alethkar in around 1143.[54]

Burning of Rathalas (1163)[edit]

The burning of Rathalas

In 1163, due to increasing hostilities and calls for rebellion in Rathalas, led by Brightlord Tanalan's son, also named Tanalan,[49][51] Gavilar Kholin sent Dalinar Kholin and Torol Sadeas back to the Rift in order to quell them. Dalinar attempted to peacefully negotiate, offering Tanalan the position of Highprince if he surrendered. His offer was refused and his contingent, including himself, were struck by a landslide orchestrated by Tanalan, killing all of his men and leaving him injured, but alive.[55]

Enraged, Dalinar slaughtered his ambushers, and ordered his surviving men (stationed outside of the Rift) to douse the city in oil and set it alight, as to slaughter all of its people and leave the city in ruins. Panicked at what Dalinar ordered, Evi went into the city in secret and attempted to negotiate with Tanalan herself, in order to prevent the massacre from being carried out. Tanalan came to agree, and decided to send out a plea for surrender.

When messengers were sent out waving a flag of surrender, he ordered them shot dead, and demanded that the burning be continued without any deferment.[56] The attack went through at night, and the attack left all inhabitants of the city dead with the exception of Tanalan and his family, who Dalinar killed without hesitation. However, it soon came out that Evi was in the city during the burning, and was killed in the fire.[56]

The guilt of killing Evi and thousands of innocents weighed heavily on Dalinar's mind, and ultimately led to his seeking of the Nightwatcher and fundamental change as a person, and in the manner he runs his political office as Highprince.

Wastescum Skirmishes (???)[edit]

A collection of skirmishes in the northern section of Alethkar which occurred some time before 1166, and some time after the crowning of Gavilar in 1145.[1] The skirmishes were against groups of Reshi raiders who thought they could take advantage at the instability of Alethkar early after the crowning of Gavilar Kholin.[1] It can be reasonably assumed that the attempt to repel the raiders was successful.

Soldiers for the battle were brought in from across the Sadeas Princedom, and presumably beyond, including various darkeyes in Hearthstone.[1] The Reshi forces notably did not have any Shardblades.[1]

This conflict did not fully dissuade the Reshi from engaging in border assaults, and they are known to have still be attempting to take Alethkar as late as Kak 1173.[25]

Early Interactions with the Parshendi (1166 - 1167)[edit]

Gavilar met with the Parshendi in Vev 1166 and was instantly fascinated by them. The Parshendi exploration that underwent first contact was led by Eshonai, who became a very important figure in Alethi-Parshendi relations.[57][58][29][59]

Szeth arriving to kill Gavilar

Assassination of Gavilar Kholin (1167)[edit]

During the feast celebrating the signing of the Parshendi-Alethi Treaty in Ishi 1167, Gavilar revealed to Eshonai that he knew how to bring back the old gods they abandoned, and that he planned on doing so. Horrified, Eshonai reported his plans to the Five, and they agreed that he needed to be assassinated.[27][57]

They sent Szeth to kill him, and Gavilar fought back in a desperate attempt to survive. Szeth ultimately won in the battle and assassinated him. However, Gavilar managed to make out some last words, telling his assassin to tell Dalinar that "he must find the most important words a man can say", and gave him a Voidlight sphere. Szeth honored these last wishes, writing his last words on a piece of nearby debris, and taking the sphere.[60][57]

The War of Reckoning (1167 - 1173)[edit]

When Gavilar was assassinated by Szeth under the orders of the Parshendi in 1167,[27] his son, Elhokar Kholin, became king and declared war on the killers. Each of the highprinces joined the Vengeance Pact and they set out into the Shattered Plains to besiege the Parshendi in the War of Reckoning.

During the war, the highprince Dalinar Kholin began to have visions of the past, and warnings of the future. These visions caused other highprinces and his soldiers to start doubting his sanity. However, over time, his talking during these visions led to the decipherment of the Dawnchant. These translations began to spread amongst scholars, leading to an immense increase in Rosharan understanding of their own history as they learned how to translate various ancient texts.

The siege took much longer than was expected, and was still active by 1173.

Despite the Highprinces all joining together in the War of Reckoning, fighting for territory between Princedoms continued without abeyance. Such as one skirmish between the Sadeas Princedom and Vamah or Aladar princedom.[61][62][63]

Sadeas Princedom Border Conflict (c.Tanat 1172)[edit]

In c.Tanat 1172, the Sadeas Princedom engaged in a border skirmish with the Vamah or Aladar princedom.[61][62][13] During this battle, which was led by Meridas Amaram on the Sadeas side, Helaran Davar, a Veden Shardbearer, was killed on the battlefield. While the killer was Kaladin, and thus he had legal right to the dropped Shardblade, Amaram killed his squad and marked him as a slave, taking the Shardblade for himself.[61][62][63]

In late 1173, Reshi border encroachments grew increasingly bold, recognizing the weakening state of Alethkar due to the prolonged War of Reckoning.[25]

Battle of the Side Carry (Kakahach 1173)[edit]

During an attack on the Tower led by Sadeas, Bridge Four attempted a strategy that they believed would protect them from Parshendi attack by carrying their bridge on the side. This successfully protected themselves, but focused Parshendi attack on other bridge crews, causing a large amount to fall. This disrupted the attack, and led to a large amount of deaths, of both trained soldiers and bridgemen. Over two-hundred bridgemen perished in the attack.[64][65]

This ultimately dealt a crippling blow to Sadeas's army, and led to the execution of Captain Lamaril for allowing the disaster to take place. Kaladin was also punished by being strung up in the coming highstorm and left for death, as a punishment for the actions of his crew.[64][65]

The Fall of Kholinar (1173)[edit]

Late into the War of Reckoning, after Navani Kholin left Aesudan to rule for herself after deeming her fit to do so without her advisement, Kholinar was infiltrated by Ashertmarn, Sja-anat, and Yelig-nar. These Unmade caused Aesudan to fall into an abyss of decadence, throwing lavish feasts as Kholinar society collapsed around her, while Sja-anat corrupted the spren of the city; and Yelig-nar bonded with Aesudan, but she ultimately couldn't handle it and it led to her death.[43][66]

The events that took place in Kholinar served as the basis of the Siege of Kholinar, and its eventual fall and occupation by Fused forces.[67]

Battle of the Tower (Tanatashev 1173)[edit]

On Tanatashev 1173, Highprince Sadaes set up a battle on the Tower as a trap to murder Dalinar Kholin. The motivation for this was a part of his desire to protect Elhokar from Dalinar's ideals.[3][expand]

The battle led to the decimation of Dalinar Kholin's army, he arrived at the battle with 8000 men, but returned with only 2,653 men, coming out at 5347 fatalities.[3] It also led to Dalinar successfully attempting to gain the title of Highprince of War in order to insure more authority to manage the war directly, in response to Sadaes' betrayal.[3]

Battle of Narak and Failed Assassination of Elhokar Kholin (Ishishach 1173)[edit]

The Battle of Narak occured on Ishishach 1173, and marked the summoning of the Everstorm and the start of the True Desolation.[68][expand]

The True Desolation (1173 - )[edit]

It eventually ended when the Parshendi summoned the Everstorm, beginning the True Desolation during the Battle of Narak. Afterwards, some of the Highprinces -- Dalinar, Aladar and Sebarial -- along with their remaining forces, took refuge in Urithiru, while others remained on the Shattered Plains, slowly taking over the abandoned warcamps of those who left and consolidating their power base there.

Shortly following the start of the True Desolation, Torol Sadeas was murdered by Adolin Kholin. Following his murder, rulership of the Sadeas Princedom was passed to Meridas Amaram by Ialai Sadeas, as the heir to the position was too young to fill it.[69][50]

Siege of Kholinar (1173)[edit]

Meanwhile, the Alethkar homelands were besieged by the newly awakened singer forces led by the Fused, culminating in the siege and eventual fall of Kholinar.[70]

After Elhokar was killed by Moash during the siege, and Adolin Kholin refused to take the throne after the Battle of Thaylen Field, Jasnah Kholin became Queen.[66][71] The current heir to the throne is Elhokar's son, Gavinor -- however, he's still a child and a regency in his name was deemed too unstable and dangerous during the time of the True Desolation.

Battle of Thaylen Field (Nanishah 1174)[edit]

On Nanishah 1174[72], the Alethi and Thaylen armies defended Thaylen City against the incursion of the Fused army.[73][74] This battle was motivated by the Alethi wishing to protect their Thaylen allies, and in order to secure the Thaylen Oathgate; They wished to secure the Oathgate due to the strategic advantage it granted them.[citation needed][expand]

During this battle, the Unmade Nergaoul was successfully sealed away into the King's Drop, thus ending its control over people across Roshar.[7]

Fused Occupation (1174 - )[edit]

By the time of the Battle of Thaylen Field, most of Alethkar was under Fused hegemony.[7] One of the major military centers in the occupation was the capital city of the Vamah princedom, Revolar. Between 40,000 and 50,000 Singers were stationed there.[75]

A year after the Battle of Thaylen Field, Dalinar had managed to retake the southwestern corner of Alethkar which touches the Tarat Sea. Dalinar considered launching a major offensive into Alethkar but was convinced by the Mink that it would be wiser to attempt to retake Emul.[76]

Evacuation of Hearthstone (1175)[edit]

In Chach 1175, an attempt was mounted by the coalition to evacuate the city of Hearthstone. After a battle with Fused occupiers, most notably Lezian, all but fifteen occupants of Hearthstone were successfully evacuated via the Fourth Bridge, and brought to Urithiru.[77] During the battle, Brightlord Roshone was killed by Vyre, leading to the position of citylady eventually being passed on to Laral.[77][78]

Culture[edit]

Jasnah Kholin, the current Queen of Alethkar

Conquering folks is basically their primary cultural heritage.

People[edit]

The Alethi people are generally tan -- darker-skinned than the Veden and Shin, but not as dark as the Makabaki -- with dark, typically black hair.[80] They are typically extremely tall, standing on average at least a foot taller than people living further West.[81] Like most Rosharan people, they possess Epicanthic folds and see those without such folds as wide-eyed and childish.[82] They are a racially-mixed people due to their history of conquest.[71][83][84]

In the late Era of Solitude, the Alethi tan and black hair are considered the general standard of beauty.[80] Multicolored hair is also present within Alethkar and is an indication of mixed heritage. Some see this as a sign of an "impure" bloodline,[83] while others use it as evidence of Alethkar's superiority, hard won through conquest.[71] Among the Heralds, Jezrien, Vedeledev, and Kalak look Alethi.[27][85]

Like all Vorin nations, Alethi practice a division between the sexes. Women have safehands, covered either by a buttoned-up sleeve, typical of lighteyes, or a glove, typical of darkeyes. They are discouraged from picking up weapons and fighting. By contrast, men are forbidden to read. As such, oftentimes a man and a woman will work together as a team in an important position that overlaps both their areas of responsibility, such as the military, with the woman acting as a scribe while the man issues commands.[86] The militaristic nature of the Alethi further influences this divide, leading to most of Alethi rulers being kings, and women rarely, if ever, becoming highprincesses.[71]

Alethi discourage emotional openness and any show of what could be perceived as a weakness; an engaged couple keeping close in public is considered, while not obscene, at least extremely improper.[71] Men are encouraged to be combative and forceful, and women to be witty and willing to engage in barbed banter. Unwillingness or inability to act in this way can often lead to a person being labeled as inept or stupid.[54]

Music[edit]

Alethi music makes a heavy use of flutes and string instruments made of a fine wood,[87][42][66] and tend to dislike percussion.[27][88][89] Battle hymns make use of brass-like instruments.[89]

They make use of bows to play stringed instruments.[42]

The Alethi may practice a sort of throat-singing.[90] They are known to often sing various forms of Vorin hymns.[91]

Drums are popular amongst the lower-class, darkeyed population. Due to this, lighteyes typically associate drums exclusively with darkeyes, and therefore interpret them as base instruments.[27]

Their flutes are played vertically, not horizontally.[87]

Music is seen as a feminine art, and is thus primarily only persued by women and ardents.[80][87][92]

It is common for music to be played at lighteyed feasts.[93][37][88]

Clothing[edit]

Alethi fashion varies greatly between the lighteyes and darkeyes, enforced by the division between the castes.

As of 1173, Alethkar was going through a trend of bright colors and ornate frills.[citation needed]

Liafor and Yezier deeply influence lighteyed fashion in Alethkar, with much of their clothing being designed in these countries, based on Alethi fashion trends with their own cultural flair.[94][95][51]

Alethkar and Jah Keved have closely aligned fashion styles, enough so for Liafor to market to them using the same fashion folios.[96]

Contemporary Male Fashion

Masculine Fashion[edit]

A common form of male clothing, typically worn by warriors, is the takama.[83] The takama is a form of long, straight, calf-length skirt, typically worn with a belt and shirts specifically designed for use with a takama.[97][98] The Takama has similarities with the Veden vakama and ulatu.[99][100]

The Vorin Havah

Feminine Fashion[edit]

The Vorin Havah is a very common form of clothing amongst Lighteyed women in Alethkar.[101] It is formfitting through the bust, shoulders, and waist, and has a flowing skirt; fitting with Vorin ideals, these Havah have a long left sleeve, hiding their safehand.[80] These sleeves often have a pouch to store belongings known as a safepouch.[102][103] Havah are often made of brightly coloured silk, which is thin enough to allow women to easily grip objects with their safehand, when necessary.[61][104]

Havah often have elaborate embroidery, often taking the form of multifarious designs, hatchings, and stylized glyphs.[105][106]

Lighteyed women often arrange their hair high in a complex series of braids secured by four steel spikes.[107][95] These hair-spikes are considered to be traditional in Alethi culture.[107] Some women deign to use different metals, such as gold, to construct these spikes;[103] some even choose to wear a different number of spikes in their hair, such as six.[103]

Darkeyed women tend to wear simpler clothing, and tend to wear gloves on their safehand rather than large sleeves. This is done so that they are able to more easily perform household duties.[80][86][1] Wearing a glove on the safehand in this manner is seen as immodest and an inherent sign of lower class, and therefore is not typically practiced by lighteyes.[80]

It is common for prostitutes to dress with their safehand uncovered.[citation needed]

Cuisine[edit]

Like other Vorin nations, they practice a gendered division in cuisine between genders. Masculine food is often heavily spiced.[108][109] Feminine food is made up of fruit and is often very sweet.[110] However, as always, ardents are immune to these gender norms and can eat whatever they wish.[111]

A large portion of their diet is made up of tallew and lavis, with them being used in food,[108][112][113] and alcoholic beverages.[114][115][116] Tallew is often boiled or steamed and made into soup.[117][108][118][43] It is sometimes used as a spread on vegetables such as stagm.[117]

They make use of meat in several dishes, particularly using pork harvested from hogs.[119][37][120] Sometimes cooked in a savoury broth.[37] They also eat the meat of crabs and lanka.[37][121]

Alethi food is known for its spiciness.[109][119] Which is often mixed into sauces and curry.[119][110][120]

Stagm and other tubers are another common part of their diet.[117]

It is common for children to eat fruited tallew rice with flatbread.[119]

They make use of a wide range of sauces of a variety of different flavours, ranging from spicy,[119][110] to sweet,[110] to peppery,[37] to salty.[122][111][93]

The Colours of Alethi Wine

Alcohol[edit]

Alethi alcohol is often made of fermented tallew or lavis,[114][115][116] but are occasionally made from fruit.[123]

Their alcohol is coloured with various dyes in accordance with the strength of the beverage.[124] The strongest colours are not only fermented, but also distilled into spirits.[125] Parties often only make use of the weaker colours, to prevent participants from getting drunk too quickly.[123]

There is a great variety of beverages even within the same colour,[126] such as hard honu, a type of lavis grain liquor.[116] Some alcohol is spiced, giving it a spicy flavour.[126]

Architecture[edit]

Architecture varies wildly across Alethkar, and is heavily shaped by the highstorms the ravage the nation. For example, buildings in Hearthstone, which are only protected by a relatively small lait known as the Breakwall, are built in rows and are wedge shaped with a sloped eastern side, with windows being exclusively situated along the flat western side.[1][expand]

Doors are often faced away from the Origin, especially further to the east, and streets are often designed running east to west to provide a way for highstorm winds to blow.[115]

Larger cities, such as Tomat or Kholinar, tend to make use of defensive walls along their perimeter.[127][75][128] Some cities, such as Revolar, expanded past these walls, leaving them as markers of the inner portions of the city.[75]

Caste system[edit]

The Alethi culture is divided into two major castes, the lighteyes and darkeyes, separated by, as can be surmised, the color of a person's eyes. The lighteyes form the upper caste, with broader rights and privileges, while the darkeyes are the lower, working caste. Furthermore, each caste is subdivided into ten ranks, with the lighteyed ranks being called dahns, while the darkeyed ones are the nahns. Some nahns and dahns are hereditary, or stable, while others can only be held by attaining a particular position.[129] The Alethi monarch, for example, is the only person in the country holding the first dahn.[130]

There are many ways for a person to improve their rankings, such as through marriage or military service. A soldier who becomes an officer will almost automatically be raised to a proper dahn or nahn, along with their children.[129] Holding land automatically entitles a lighteyes to at least the sixth dahn, regardless of their previous status, and becoming a Shardbearer entitles at least the fourth dahn.[130][131]

Alethkar is generally a feudal nation. The Alethi monarch is served by ten highprinces, which have their own lower-dahn subjects, down to the citylords, who rule over individual settlements.[1] Shardbearers stand slightly aside from this system, although many of them are either highprinces themselves, or in direct service to one highprince or another.

Militarism[edit]

They came from the east. Giants, in armor forged of the deepest metals. A horde of death and destruction that ate the land, consumed villages like insects swarming the crops. Ripping. Smashing.

The Alethi culture is highly militaristic, stemming from their origins as Alethela. A soldier is considered the highest religious Calling, with the fight to reclaim the Tranquiline Halls being believed to be the greatest afterlife one could hope for.[1] The country is almost perpetually at war, if not between the highprinces, then with some external power. Children as young as twelve can and sometimes are recruited by raving armies to feed this endless war machine.[132]

Military service is one of the more reliable paths of social advancement in Alethkar. A soldier can expect to raise in dahn or nahn to match his military rank.[129] Moreover, many darkeyed soldiers go to war hoping to defeat a Shardbearer and gain ownership of a Shardblade, due to a widespread belief -- later proven correct -- that bonding a Blade would change their eyes to light-colored.[133]

Alongside this culture, the Alethi highly honor the Thrill, a form of battle-lust that can sometimes encompass them when in combat. The Thrill is often considered a private thing, not to be shared with others; however, it's also highly desirable, with men often awaiting its arrival when in combat.[134][114] For many, it's downright addictive.[135] Following the Battle of Thaylen Field and the sealing of Nergaoul, the Thrill ceased to mold the hearts of men.[52][136]

Religion[edit]

The Alethi preferred to let the ardents deal with the Almighty, like he was some annoying parlor guest who could be safely distracted by servants offering a particularly tasty tea.

Alethkar is one of the five great Vorin Kingdoms, with vast majority of their populace worshipping the Almighty.[80] The worship is mostly carried out by the priests, called the ardents. The ardents, while influential, are not free -- rather, they are slaves to various lighteyes. Unlike most other professions, ardentia is open to both men and women, and to people from all social castes.[138] Ardents are considered genderless from a social standpoint, and as such, many of the Vorin taboos regarding gender and gender roles do not apply to them.[139] They are also the only people permitted to use Soulcasters.

Unlike other varieties of Vorinism, the Alethi are not required to be personally devout, or to perform religious ceremonies. While each citizen is supposed to pick their Calling and Glory -- their goal in life, and the aspect of the Almighty they wish to emulate[25] -- the actual religious part of the religion is handled by the ardents, who perform the requisite rituals and prayers for their masters, so as to reassure them of their righteousness.[140] The Alethi themselves rarely interact with the Almighty, save for an occassional glyphward or prayer.[137]

Language and Writing[edit]

The Alethi language is part of the Vorin language family, which includes others such as Veden (spoken in Jah Keved) and Herdazian.[141] It's particularly close to the former, making it easy to learn.[142] It is also descended from Alethelan.[143] Known words from the language include dahn and nahn for the ranking system, numerous glyph pronunciations, as well as two terms for family members -- Mathana, a formal term for older sister, and Mashala, for aunt.[93][20]

Script[edit]

The Alethi language can be written using two different systems. The Women's script, used broadly across eastern Roshar, is an alphabet, with twenty five letters, and at least two symbols -- a mark of maximum character height, at the start of a passage, and a small diactric denoting that a particular letter should be read as an "H".[144][145]

Grammar[edit]

Pronouns, including the first-person pronoun, are gendered in the written language, with a masculine, feminine, and neuter form. Due to only woman and ardents being allowed to write, the use of the masculine first-person pronoun is largely restricted to use in quotes, whilst the neuter is used in writing by ardents.[71] It is likely that no pronouns have gender in the spoken language.[71] There are further additons to the written language that change the context of words, and are not read out loud.[71]

Literacy[edit]

As a Vorin nation, reading and writing is restricted for use by the female part of the populace. and to ardents.[146] Due to this, men are typically illiterate, regardless of their class.

Men are permitted to learn glyphs, a separate system where each symbol or pair of symbols represents a separate idea or concept.[80] Despite this, stormwardens make use of glyphs in a system known as the Stormwarden script, which phonetically uses glyphs in order to construct words.[147] This, however, is seen as a form of reading, and thus the manner in which they use glyphs is typically hidden from the public.[147]

Literacy is ubiquitous amongst lighteyed women, and is not uncommon even amongst darkeyed women in Alethi cities.[148] However, literacy is uncommon in smaller, primarily darkeyed settlements such as Hearthstone, with some having literacy rates as low as 0%.[148]

Death and Funerary Culture[edit]

Wealthy lighteyes tend to have their bodies soulcast into stone or metal statues.[149][150][151][152] They are positioned by mortuary sculptors before being soulcast into stone, leaving them suitable for display.[153]

Darkeyes tend to have their dead burned.[154][150][151] Although some very wealthy darkeyes get different treatment.[154]

The Afterlife[edit]

As a Vorin nation, they believe that people go to assist the Heralds in accordance with their Calling, with warriors being believed to fight in the battle to reclaim the Tranquiline Hills from the Voidbringers.[80][111][1][25][107] They believe that those who do not achieve their Calling are put into a dreamless sleep until the Hills are reconquered, whilst the sinful are cast down into Damnation.[155]

Sex and Sexuality[edit]

Vorin culture is strictly oppossed to extra-marital sexuality,[156] though this doesn't stop prostitution from being popular at Warcamps and cities, and in Urithiru.[120] Though even those that make use of their services tend to look down on them for their occupation, and often physically abuse them.[157]

They are accepting of homosexuality, and allow same-sex marriage, as long as the same oaths are spoken. This is due to the fact that their perception of marriage is rooted in the oaths itself, which a pair of any gender would be able to make without any issues.[158][156] However, some see it as unbecoming of one's gender, but this seems to be an uncommon perception.[159]

Incest is strictly looked down on, this includes the marriage of one's sibling's widow(er).[citation needed]

Gender Roles[edit]

The Alethi have very strict gender roles that permeate nigh every aspect of their culture.[citation needed] With most aspects of life, from art, to occupation, to cuisine, is defined by a strict masculine-feminine dichotomy.[citation needed] Ardents, however, are essentially considered genderless and can persue both masculine and feminine activities.[42]

Going against these prescribed roles is often seen as unnatural or downright blasphameous.[114][39]

Their conception of gender roles is deeply rooted in Arts and Majesty, an ancient work of Rosharan literature that defines certain topics and practices as feminine or masculine.[160][161]

Politics[edit]

Dalinar had been around Alethi politicians so much that he found honesty an obscure thing, like a language he no longer spoke.

Monarch[edit]

The Alethi have a long history of monarchies rising and falling, with few families able to retain authority for any significant period of time.

The first figure to unify Alethkar after the fall of Alethela was Sadees the Sunmaker in c.673, although his rule quickly collapsed after his death as Alethi territory was split between his ten sons, leading to another interregnum due to a proper heir not being selected before his passing.[37] This interregnum lasted until Gavilar Kholin led a war of unification, once again bringing Alethkar under a single ruler by the year 1145.[50]

While the king has power over the Highprinces, highprinces still retain a high degree of autonomy within their own princedoms, to the extent that they essentially function as their own sovereign nations. Therefore, the king is not an autocratic source of authority.

The monarchy's power over the highprinces, however limited, is primarily maintained through military strength and access to soulcasters, which he taxes highprinces for their rights to use.[162] In part due to the limited power of the king, many people feel more connection and loyalty to their highprince or local lord than they do to the king themself, or to the institution of the monarchy.[23]

The king has the right to promote individuals into the position of a classical Highprince if they deem it necessary, therefore consolidating inter-princedom national power in certain aspects of government into individuals.[25] This right is controversial, and only began to be put into use late into the War of Reckoning in 1173, when King Elhokar granted highprince Torol Sadeas the position of Highprince of Information.[25]

Jasnah Kholin, the current queen, expresses an interest in disbanding the monarchy after the True Desolation is over.[2]

Rules of Succession[edit]

Traditionally, the crown passes down to the eldest male heir of the ruling king upon his death.[71][163] However, this traditional line of succession can be overruled if the heir is deemed too young to serve as king in the contemporary political climate of the nation.[71] In such a case, the crown can pass to the sibling of the deceased king, to act as monarch until the heir comes of age or the political situation calms enough for them to be able to take the throne.[71]

A king can choose to grant the throne to another individual outside of their line of succession, as Elhokar briefly did to Lopen, making him the legitimate king for a short period of time.[164][165][69] Though the nation refused to recognize the legitimacy of his claim or add him to the official list of kings.[69] His children do have a valid claim to the throne, due to his brief role as king, though the Alethi are unlikely to accept his claim.[163]

List of Known Alethi Monarchs[edit]

Alethi Monarchs
Name Length of Rule
Nohadon Pre-Aharietiam
Interregnum ???
Oldblood Dynasty[31][32] Pre-Recreance[23]
Interregnum ???
Hierocracy circa 673[114]
Sadees the Sunmaker ???
Interregnum ??? - 1145
Kholin Dynasty
Gavilar Kholin 1145 - Ishi 1167
Elhokar Kholin Ishi 1167 - Nanachach 1174
Jasnah Kholin Nanat 1174 - Incumbent[71][166]

The King's Wit[edit]

The King's Wit (known as the Queen's Wit during the rule of Jasnah Kholin) is a court jester that works for the residing monarch, mocking those of lower dahn.[162][167][expand] The current Wit, as of 1175, and beginning his service in 1173, is Hoid.

It is legal for a Highprince to murder a Wit, though doing so would lead to them losing their position and property.[162]

Princedoms[edit]

Alethi Princedoms

Though it is ruled by a single king, Alethkar is divided into ten princedoms, each ruled by a lighteyed highprince. Each princedom is named after the family controlling it, and each has its own military, independent of one another - a remnant of the times prior to the reunification. While the highprinces do work together, the king has limited control over them, maintained less through tradition, and more through sheer military power and access to amenities like Soulcasters, which are heavily taxed.[162] In addition, the ruling House Kholin controls the largest territory, as apart from their own princedom, they also hold an underpopulated stretch of land called the Eastern Crownlands.[13]

Borders between Princedoms were largely, but not exclusively, defined by natural borders created by the Windrunner and Deathbend rivers, the Sunmaker mountains, and the Sea of Spears.[13]

It is unclear what princedom Akak is a part of.

Highprinces[edit]

A highprince is the ruler of one of the ten princedoms that make up Alethkar. They essentially function as the leaders of sovereign nations, rather than simply as heads of administrative districts.[134]

Highprince Rules of Succession[edit]

When a Highprince dies, the position passes to his eldest male child. If he has no eldest male child, their nephew can be elected as heir.[38][50]

If the deceased Highprince has no descendants that can act as valid heirs to the position, their spouse is allowed to elect someone from outside the family to take it up.[50]

In extreme circumstances, the monarch of Alethkar is allowed to step in and choose to elect a figure of their choosing to be the next Highprince.[168]

The Classical Highprince System[edit]

During the rule of Sadees, the ten Highprinces had specialized roles in government, controlling certain aspects of the entire kingdom.[25] This system fell into disuse after the death of Sadees, as Alethkar broke into ten self-governing regions.

This system has seen a resurgence as of late 1173, starting with the election of Torol Sadeas as the Highprince of Information.

Known Highprince Positions[edit]
  • Highprince of Commerce: This position held authority over all merchants and his troops would patrol the roads across all ten princedoms.[25][135]
  • Highprince of Information: This position had authority over criminal investigations and policing across the entire kingdom and appointed judges and magistrates.[93][135] Of particular interest to the Highprince of Information were criminal investigations where the Crown's interest was at stake.[93]
  • Highprince of War: This position had control over the kingdom's combined military forces, likely only during a time of war.[93][23]
  • Highprince of Works: This position had management of the kingdoms infrastructure, such as sewage disposal, civil services, and potentially Stormlight management; with the increase in uses for Stormlight since the Battle of Narak.[143]

Inter-Princedom Conflict[edit]

Despite unification under one banner, it is common for princedoms to engage in violent border conflicts with one another.[61] This continued even long into the War of Reckoning.[61][expand]

Administrative Districts[edit]

Each Princedom is further divided into named regions, such as Akanny in the Sadeas Princedom.[169] These regions are controlled by Brightlords or Highlords that hold extensive land and property within a princedom, and collect taxes from the citylords.[170]

Another level down from regions are individual settlements, which are ruled by citylords. When a citylord dies without a proper heir, a new citylord is sent to replace them. These citylords own the land and territory of a settlement, and rent it out to inhabitants.[1][97] These inhabitants pay an income tax, which varies depending upon the size and purpose of the settlement in question, with smaller farming towns like Hearthstone primarily paying in produce such as lavis grain, while larger cities levy more financial taxes. Furthermore, the citylord only gets a portion of the collected taxes, with most going to their own local highlord, or to their local Highprince.[170][171]

Citylords have legal authority over those on their manor, and are allowed to impress them into passing armies at will, so long as they are over the age of fifteen. They are also able to forbid an individual from willingly joining into service.[1][119][132]

Citylords are ultimately subservient to the lord of the territory that they inhabit, and in various ways have to pay tribute to their local lord.[170][171]

Known Princedoms[edit]

The territories of Alethkar and their major settlements are:

Kholin princedom
In the east of Alethkar
Sadeas princedom
In the north-west of Alethkar
Aladar princedom
In the north of Alethkar
Roion princedom
In the north-east of Alethkar
Vamah princedom
In the north-west of Alethkar
Ruthar princedom
In the west of Alethkar
Thanadal princedom
In the center of Alethkar
Hatham princedom
In the west of Alethkar
Bethab princedom
In the south-west of Alethkar
Sebarial princedom
In the south of Alethkar
Eastern Crownlands
In southeast Alethkar, ultimately part of the Kholin Princedom
Unknown princedom

Government-in-Exile[edit]

Following the start of the True Desolation and the invasion and occuptation of Alethkar by Fused forces, the Alethi government became a government-in-exile centred around Urithiru.[citation needed]

They retained political recognition by other states despite their exile.[citation needed]

Foreign Policy and International Relationships[edit]

Azir[edit]

Azir has a deep distrust of Alethkar due to their militaristic nature, and due to the genocide perpetrated against them by Sadees, who is still held as a hero in Alethi historical recollection. Due to this, they were hesitant to join Alethkar in the Coalition of Monarchs or give them access to their Oathgate, until their hand was forced by Singer attack.[172][173][46]

Herdaz[edit]

Herdaz? My aides say it is the traditional first step for an Alethi aggression.

Herdaz was conquered by Alethkar during the conquests of Sadees the Sunmaker until the instability following his death.[37] They have been a typical first target in Alethi attempts at expansion throughout history, leading to a deeply bitter relationship between the two nations.[174]

After a change in dynasties in Herdaz around 1150 led to them rallying their forces and pushing against Alethi borders for around four years of combat. These skirmishes shaped the modern Alethi-Herdaz border, and incited a degree of ethnic stife between the two peoples, with the Herdazians becoming the target to stereotypes and discrimination.[51][11] Due to their history, the Herdazian government was distrusting of Alethkar when they approached them with offers to join the Coalition of monarchs.[174]

Although they are currently allied in their fight against Fused forces, distrust and tension still exist between the two armies, as the people haven't forgotten the atrocities committed against their people by the Alethi during the 1150-1154 border conflicts, and other such conflicts. They are very quick to slate Alethi generals for execution when they commit crimes against their people.[175][52]

Jah Keved[edit]

They have repeatedly fought with the neighboring Jah Keved, fighting for territory at their shared border.[1][11] These wars tend to be pushed more by western Highprinces instead of by national efforts pushed forward by the crown.[1] At the same time, marriage of lighteyes between nations is nothing seen as particularly out of the ordinary, nor is it forbidden by any religious tenants or national laws.[176]

Through trade treaties, they are able to trade with Jah Kaved for cheap.[54]

Kharbranth[edit]

Before Taravangian's betrayal of the Coalition of Monarchs, Kharbranth and Alethkar had a close political and economic relationship. This relationship led to Kharbranth joining the Coalition of Monarchs before any other nation.[citation needed] Whilst they appeared to be good allies, Taravangian was secretly planning to cause Dalinar's rule over Alethkar to collapse allowing him to take control of the nation.[177][71]

Following the reveal of his deceit, and his fall from authority in Kharbranth, Savrahalidem became Queen and withdrew from the alliance, declaring neutrality in the conflict. This led to an increase in tensions between them, ultimately leading to Dalinar creating a trade blockade across the sea near Kharbranth to force them back into the alliance.[2]

Listeners[edit]

When they first met, the Listeners and Alethi had a positive relationship which eventually led to the formation of a treaty between the two peoples in Ishi ? 1167.[86][27] However this peace broke down once King Gavilar Kholin was assassinated under Listener orders, leading to the enactment of the Vengence Pact and the beginning of the War of Reckoning against the Listener people.[citation needed] This slaughter of their people would continue for six years, until it ended with the start of the True Desolation on Ishishach 1173.[165]

The Alethi see the Listeners as sub-human savages barely capable of thought, and spread that supremacist ideology amongst their people and their soldiers.[citation needed]

Marabethia[edit]

Alethkar requested that Marabethia join in the Coalition of monarchs, however, Marabethia refused to respond to these invitations.[174]

Reshi Isles[edit]

Throughout their history, Alethkar and the Reshi Isles have been in a state of near constant conflict, seen in conflicts such as the Wastescum skirmishes.[1][25][178] Attacks at the northern border continued even long into the War of Reckoning.[citation needed] The Alethi conquest of Akak, and their extermination of the Akak Reshi, likely played a role in Reshi aggression towards Alethkar.[53][11]

They appear to have good relationships with at least a few Reshi islands, with some providing chulls and handlers to the Alethi military during the War of Reckoning.[107] During the True Desolation, in the year 1174, they allied with the Reshi isle of Relu-na and their king Ral-na.[citation needed]

Thaylenah[edit]

Thaylenah is an important member of the Coalition of monarchs,[citation needed][expand] though they deeply distrusted Alethkar and Dalinar due to the prior actions of both entities, before ultimately choosing to join the Coalition.[citation needed]

Yezier[edit]

They have a stable system of trade with Yezier, wherein Yezier sells them a variety of clothing articles, which are of great popularity in Alethkar.[51] Yezier quickly requested to join the coalition of monarchs with Alethkar shortly after the start of the True Desolation.[46][73] This created a close economic and military union between the two nations.

Military[edit]

Chain of command
Unit Soldiers Typical Commander
subsquad 6–8 sergeant
squad ~25 squadleader
platoon ~50 captain/captainlord
company ~100 companylord
battalion ~1000 battalionlord
division ~2000 general
army highprince
In companies made solely of lighteyes, the rank "lieutenant" is used as the equivalent of sergeant.

The modern Alethi army is one of the strongest military forces on Roshar with well over 100,000 troops[86] and over thirty Shardbearers.[179] The army employs most of its troops as spearmen and archers, as well as a very small amount of cavalry due to the rarity of horses on Roshar;[86] only the officers wield swords because, according to Vorin traditions, the sword is regarded as a lighteyed's weapon.[27] Soldiers are usually trained in one or two additional Skills, i.e. horse grooms.[107] Under most circumstances, military service is voluntary, though the leaders of the army has the right of conscription for darkeyes that do not provide an essential function to a community (e.g. a town's only surgeon) when they feel there is need for additional troops.[132] It is extremely rare for a darkeyed soldier to rise higher than the rank of squadleader.[62] Lighteyed officers that have the command of a branch of the army are usually referred by their duties (e.g. cavalrylord, infantrylord).[114]

Despite Alethkar being a monarchy, the king has very little actual say in how the military is run and does not directly command any force other than the 250-strong King's Guard. The troops are sworn to and led by their individual highprinces.[179] In that sense, Alethkar army is not truly a unified army, but a loose coalition between ten smaller armies. Indeed, even in wartime, there is constant in-fighting between the highprinces' armies,[62] and cooperation between the highprinces themselves is seen as a weakness;[117] this is bolstered by the tenets of Vorinism that say the purpose of life is to prepare in order to join the Heralds in the fight to regain the Tranquiline Halls and Alethi belief that everything is a competition in life.[162]

Because of the immense size of the army and the difficulty of travel, compounded by the poor supply line infrastructure of Alethkar,[180] Soulcasting plays a vital role in supplying the army with wood, metal, food, and many other necessities, as well as being used in building fortifications. The king controls most of the Soulcaster ardents; in fact, manipulating the highprinces with his Soulcasters is one of the ways that the king maintains a control over them.[162]

Recently, in an effort to truly unify the kingdom, Dalinar Kholin has been appointed as the Highprince of War by the king. This title was used in Alethkar before being fragmented into ten princedoms when each highprince was given the ultimate authority over one aspect of the governing of the kingdom. On paper, this gives Kholin authority over all war-related activities.[3]

The Alethi military is currently one of the major military forces fighting against the Fused Invasion, most notably during the Battle of Thaylen Field and the Emuli Campaign.[181][182][183] Although many more battles and skirmishes were fought between the two armies between 1173 and 1175.[citation needed] They also led the Evacuation of Hearthstone in early 1175.[184] They are currently centered around and stationed in Urithiru.[185]

Uniforms[edit]

Higher ranking officers are distinguished by knots on a cord across the epaulette, with the amount of knots and their colour signifying their military rank, and their rank in the Alethi caste system.[61][86][186][114][157][62][187][188] White knots indicate a citizen officer, that is a sergeant or squadleader;[61][86][157] red knots indicate an officer of seventh dahn;[157] and gold knots indicate second or third dahn;[114][157] It can also distinguish between low captain,[188] captain,[160][189][190] captainlord,[191] lieutenant,[192] sergeant,[112] and battalionlord.[193] Soldiers without authority bear no knots.[186][157][188][194]


Exact uniform varies between armies, usually coloured to signify the banner they fight under.[157][187][170] Some men choose to further personalize their uniforms with embrodiery or colourful scarfs.[139] Uniforms are always worn with an undershirt alongside the uniform itself.[36]

Armaments[edit]

Darkeyed soldiers are primarily trained in spears and axes,[114] with swords being used only by higher-ranking lighteyes.[27] Axes, however, are a nonstandard weapon usually only given to squadleaders and above.[62] Some soldiers use halberds, although how common they are is unclear.[195]

Foot soldiers were typically armored with steel breastplates, while archers were clothed with leather vests.[154] Ordinary foot soldiers have minimal armor, typically not wearing arm or leg guards.[154] Darkeyes in the armies of Brightlords tend to be dressed in leather armor.[196] Wealthier lighteyed soldiers wear far finer suits of armor, indicative of their status.[154] Armor is often marked with a rank insignia that indicated the dahn and military position that a person is a part of.[154]

The Kholinar Wall Guard wears steel breastplates and helms.[197]

Wages[edit]

Wages are based upon ones military rank and caste.[38] The average darkeyed soldier is payed five clearmarks a day.[154] Military slaves are paid less than half that of a darkeyed soldier, around one clearmark a day.[154][198]

Shards[edit]

According to official records, Alethkar possesses more Shardblades than any other nation on Roshar, with only Jah Keved coming anywhere close.[6] These Shards are used effectively in combat to overwhelm non-Shardbearer armies.[114]

During the War of Reckoning, their Shardblades were used in order to cut through chasmfiend chrysalises in order to harvest gemhearts.[134]

Knights Radiant[edit]

Following the start of the True Desolation, a notably large amount of their army is made up of Knights Radiant, primarily those of the Order of Windrunners and the Order of Edgedancers, with a smaller but still notable number in the Order of Lightweavers.[199][99] They are used effectively as a means of transport and combat against the Fused and Regals.[200][citation needed]

Bridge Crews[edit]

Bridge Crews were a very important part of the army during the War of Reckoning, serving as an expendable workforce that carried bridges to help soldiers cross over the large chasms between plateaus. They also acted as canon fodder for Parshendi bowmen, as to direct attention away from more trained and valued soldiers.[64] Due to this, bridgemen had a very high mortality rate, with around half a crew dying per run.[201]

Each Bridge Crew was made up of 35-40 men, which were lead by a Bridge sergeant, who reports directly to the Brightlord in charge of the crews.[86][186] Each crew has an internal leader elected amongst themselves known as the bridge leader, who has no official authority outside of that which his crewmembers choose to give him.[202] Members of bridge crews were typically payed five clearmarks a week, given on the third day of every week.[203][202][154]

The bridges used by Torol Sadeas's army are typically eight feet wide and two feet thick, with supports on both sides extending its width to sixteen feet. They are also thirty feet long, and allowed one to set up 8 men per column and 5 men per row.[204]

While not on bridge runs, they are typically used as cheap manpower to preform undesirable duties at war camps, such as chasm or latrine duty.[154]

Not all highprinces made use of bridge crews, with Dalinar notably refusing to make direct use of them. He instead makes use of bridges on wheels, pulled by chulls. Due to being heavier and pulled by chulls instead of people, movement is significantly slower, but Dalinar makes use of it regardless as it results in a major reduction of casualties during plateau runs.[114]

Eventually, Sadeas' Bridge Crews were bought off of him by Dalinar for his Shardblade, who granted them freedom from slavery and promoted them to a battalion.[3]


Economy[edit]

Currency[edit]

As with many other nations on Roshar, their economy was based upon glass spheres with cut polestones in their center, known simply as spheres. In the mint, they check sphere weights in order to see if they fell into the proper categories.[52] The value of polestones, and thus the worth of sphere denominations in their economy, is based around the value of the substances a polestone can transmute another substance into.[205]

The Market[edit]

Alethkar has some form of open market,[78] though the amount of openness in the economy, that is the amount of government regulation in the market, is unclear.

Agriculture and Livestock[edit]

Akanny in the Sadeas Princedom served as a major source of agriculture throughout Alethkar, being the source of a signifigant portion of the nation's lavis and tallew.[169] Other towns and cities throughout Alethkar are important centures for the production of hog leather and meat, whilst others still harvested gumfrems for their gemhearts, which were used in the soulcasting of meat.[169]

Soulcasting[edit]

Soulcasting is central to the economy of Alethkar, used to feed mobile armies and augment local urban food stores.[205] They hold a near monopoly on food-creating Soulcasters, and they are a vital part of their military infrastructure.[206]

Taxation[edit]

Taxation is levied upon darkeyes and landless lighteyes over rights to live on the territory of wealthier lighteyes.[207] If a citylord fails to pay his taxes to the highlord, people are sent to collect it from him, often violently.[50][207] The highlord answers to the highprince;[170] and highprinces themselves are taxed by the king for the right to use soulcasters, which were an important resource in waging prolonged, large-scale conflicts. This is the primary form of taxation levied upon the highprinces by the king.[162]

Foreign Trade[edit]

Through trade treaties, they are able to trade with Jah Kaved for cheap.[54] As of the True Desolation, Fen Rnamdi held administration over trade and supply, as one of the stipulations in the coalition of monarchs.[208]


Notable Alethi[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Alethi are modeled on half Asian and half Hawaiian people, and according to Brandon, picturing Alethi as looking east-Indian works very well.[209]
  • At 7,134,000 km2, it is a little smaller than the total area of Australia.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p The Way of Kings chapter 16#
  2. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 50#
  3. a b c d e f The Way of Kings chapter 69#
  4. a b The Sunlit Man chapter 26#
  5. Rhythm of War chapter 14#
  6. a b The Way of Kings chapter 23#
  7. a b c Oathbringer chapter 120#
  8. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 19#
  9. a b Map of Silver Kingdoms
  10. a b Map of Roshar
  11. a b c d e f Oathbringer chapter 52#
  12. a b c Roshar Physical Characteristics And Areas
    17th Shard forums - 2018-08-30#
  13. a b c d e Map of Alethkar
  14. Oathbringer chapter 5#
  15. Lait study
  16. a b c Oathbringer chapter 113#
  17. Words of Radiance interlude I-7#
  18. Prelude to the Stormlight Archive#
  19. The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant
    Arcanum - 2020-06-09#
  20. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 60#
  21. Oathbringer chapter 87#
  22. The Way of Kings chapter 35 epigraph#
  23. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 24#
  24. a b Oathbringer chapter 103#
  25. a b c d e f g h i j k l The Way of Kings chapter 18#
  26. The Way of Kings chapter prelude#
  27. a b c d e f g h i The Way of Kings prologue#
  28. Oathbringer chapter 119#
  29. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 45#
  30. a b General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-08-20#
  31. a b Words of Radiance chapter 51#
  32. a b Salt Lake City signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-29#
  33. a b Oathbringer chapter 34#
  34. a b Words of Radiance chapter 3#
  35. Words of Radiance chapter 6#
  36. a b Oathbringer chapter 59#
  37. a b c d e f g h i j Oathbringer chapter 19#
  38. a b c Oathbringer chapter 2#
  39. a b Words of Radiance chapter 12#
  40. a b Oathbringer chapter 100#
  41. a b The Way of Kings chapter 36#
  42. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 33#
  43. a b c Words of Radiance interlude I-12#
  44. Words of Radiance chapter 88#
  45. a b c Oathbringer chapter 42#
  46. a b c Oathbringer chapter 65#
  47. Oathbringer chapter 3#
  48. Oathbringer chapter 11#
  49. a b c Oathbringer chapter 36#
  50. a b c d e f g h i j Oathbringer chapter 26#
  51. a b c d e f Oathbringer chapter 49#
  52. a b c d e Rhythm of War chapter 16#
  53. a b The Way of Kings chapter 56#
  54. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 66#
  55. Oathbringer chapter 71#
  56. a b Oathbringer chapter 75#
  57. a b c Oathbringer prologue#
  58. Words of Radiance interlude I-4#
  59. Rhythm of War chapter 48#
  60. Words of Radiance prologue#
  61. a b c d e f g h The Way of Kings chapter 1#
  62. a b c d e f g The Way of Kings chapter 47#
  63. a b Words of Radiance chapter 74#
  64. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 32#
  65. a b The Way of Kings chapter 34#
  66. a b c Oathbringer chapter 84#
  67. Oathbringer epilogue#
  68. Words of Radiance timeline#
  69. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 89#
  70. Oathbringer chapter 85#
  71. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Oathbringer chapter 122#
  72. Oathbringer's Timeline
    Brandon's website - 2017-10-27#
  73. a b Oathbringer chapter 111#
  74. Oathbringer chapter 112#
  75. a b c Oathbringer chapter 31#
  76. Rhythm of War chapter 17#
  77. a b Rhythm of War chapter 6#
  78. a b Rhythm of War chapter 18#
  79. Dawnshard chapter 3#
  80. a b c d e f g h i The Way of Kings chapter 3#
  81. Edgedancer chapter 10#
  82. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  83. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 38#
  84. YouTube Live Fan Mail Opening 1
    Arcanum - 2021-10-30#
  85. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-20#
  86. a b c d e f g h The Way of Kings chapter 6#
  87. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 57#
  88. a b Rhythm of War prologue#
  89. a b Skyward Atlanta signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-17#
  90. YouTube Livestream 27
    Arcanum - 2021-02-03#
  91. Oathbringer interlude I-5#
  92. Words of Radiance chapter 55#
  93. a b c d e f The Way of Kings chapter 22#
  94. Contemporary Male Fashion Folio Page
  95. a b Vorin Havah Folio Page
  96. Contemporary Male Fashion
  97. a b The Way of Kings chapter 25#
  98. Oathbringer chapter 16#
  99. a b Rhythm of War chapter 20#
  100. Words of Radiance chapter 19#
  101. Words of Radiance prologue#
  102. Rhythm of War chapter 8#
  103. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 48#
  104. Rhythm of War chapter 69#
  105. Firefight San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-17#
  106. The Way of Kings chapter 43#
  107. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 28#
  108. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 64#
  109. a b Oathbringer chapter 46#
  110. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 68#
  111. a b c The Way of Kings interlude I-8#
  112. a b Oathbringer chapter 6#
  113. Oathbringer chapter 67#
  114. a b c d e f g h i j k The Way of Kings chapter 26#
  115. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 46#
  116. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 81#
  117. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 54#
  118. Oathbringer chapter 14#
  119. a b c d e f The Way of Kings chapter 37#
  120. a b c Oathbringer chapter 13#
  121. Oathbringer chapter 37#
  122. Words of Radiance chapter 59#
  123. a b Oathbringer chapter 18#
  124. Rosharan Wines
  125. DragonCon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-08-29#
  126. a b Words of Radiance chapter 49#
  127. Rhythm of War interlude I-10#
  128. Map of Kholinar
  129. a b c Tor.com The Way of Kings reread interview
    Arcanum - 2014-06-10#
  130. a b /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2017-08-09#
  131. Oathbringer chapter 58#
  132. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 44#
  133. Words of Radiance chapter 66#
  134. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 12#
  135. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 29#
  136. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As
    Arcanum - 2020-10-26#
  137. a b Oathbringer chapter 15#
  138. Words of Radiance chapter 11#
  139. a b Words of Radiance chapter 44#
  140. Oathbringer chapter 89#
  141. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  142. The Way of Kings chapter 5#
  143. a b Oathbringer chapter 104#
  144. Navani's Notebook Translation
    Timewasters Guide forum - Sep 20th, 2010#
  145. General Reddit 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-05-02#
  146. The Way of Kings chapter 8#
  147. a b Words of Radiance chapter 52#
  148. a b The Way of Kings chapter 31#
  149. The Way of Kings chapter 41#
  150. a b Words of Radiance chapter 2#
  151. a b Oathbringer chapter 29#
  152. Rhythm of War chapter 114#
  153. Oathbringer chapter 105#
  154. a b c d e f g h i j The Way of Kings chapter 27#
  155. The Way of Kings chapter 59#
  156. a b General Reddit 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-01-01#
  157. a b c d e f g The Way of Kings chapter 46#
  158. Oathbringer chapter 35#
  159. Oathbringer chapter 55#
  160. a b Words of Radiance chapter 25#
  161. Words of Radiance Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-08#
  162. a b c d e f g The Way of Kings chapter 15#
  163. a b Oathbringer Portland signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-16#
  164. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  165. a b Words of Radiance chapter 87#
  166. Brandon's Blog 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-10-27#
  167. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-12-29#
  168. Rhythm of War chapter 27#
  169. a b c Oathbringer chapter 10#
  170. a b c d e Oathbringer chapter 116#
  171. a b Starsight Release Party
    Arcanum - 2019-11-26#
  172. Oathbringer chapter 28#
  173. Oathbringer chapter 64#
  174. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 24#
  175. Oathbringer interlude I-10#
  176. Words of Radiance chapter 1#
  177. Oathbringer chapter 107#
  178. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-08-28#
  179. a b Words of Radiance chapter 5#
  180. Stormlight Three Update #4
    Arcanum - 2016-10-20#
  181. Oathbringer chapter 115#
  182. Rhythm of War chapter 19#
  183. Rhythm of War chapter 112#
  184. Rhythm of War chapter 1#
  185. Rhythm of War chapter 116#
  186. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 17#
  187. a b The Way of Kings chapter 58#
  188. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 67#
  189. Oathbringer chapter 83#
  190. Oathbringer chapter 117#
  191. Oathbringer chapter 63#
  192. Oathbringer interlude I-14#
  193. Rhythm of War chapter 40#
  194. Rhythm of War chapter 23#
  195. Rhythm of War chapter 77#
  196. Rhythm of War chapter 108#
  197. Oathbringer chapter 82#
  198. The Way of Kings chapter 4#
  199. Rhythm of War chapter 3#
  200. Rhythm of War chapter 9#
  201. The Way of Kings chapter 9#
  202. a b The Way of Kings chapter 14#
  203. The Way of Kings chapter 11#
  204. Bridge Run Interior Art
  205. a b Oathbringer Ars Arcanum#
  206. Dawnshard epilogue#
  207. a b Oathbringer chapter 106#
  208. Oathbringer chapter 96#
  209. Steelheart Portland signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-08#
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